Separated by an outcrop of foliage, one carved stone fox serenades another with guitar. These figures can be found at the base of a pair of columns between two windows on the facade of the former Kildare Street Club, Dublin. Designed by Deane and Woodhead, this mid-19th century building had glorious high-Gothic interiors – not least a central staircase with first-floor arcaded gallery – which were ripped out in 1971 and replaced with a series of standardised office spaces. But at least the exterior remains unaltered, including the wealth of animals and birds such as this pair of would-be lovers.
Are these carvings the work of the O’Shea family? It would be good to know more about the craftsmen whose handwork we can still admire.
I believe the O’Sheas may have been responsible for at least some of the work here, but not necessarily all of it. Unfortunately I am out of the country at present and therefore unable to confirm this is the case.
The late David Keane, a lovely man in all other senses, described the glorious staircase as ‘the ugliest in Dublin’. It could have been worse, they wanted to demolish the exterior as well. I believe some fragments were retrieved and carried to a barn in Tullynallly castle behind a ferguson tractor. Perhaps when taste recovers it can be reconstructed
How interesting, next time I am at Tullynally I must ask if this is the case and, if so, what might be the condition of the salvaged pieces. Thank you for letting me know.
Please let me know if you get to the bottom of it. I brought my son to French lessons in Alliance Francaise a while back and on each successive week i was more appalled at the vandalism done to the interior, and the miserable layout put in its place. There is a lovely photo in Freddy O’ Dwyer’s ‘Lost Dublin’ of the staircase hall in its prime.
I shall do my best once back in Ireland next week.
I’m not sure that these are foxes?
Thank you for your comment. After 150 or so years of pollution (all those belching buses) it is difficult to determine what species are many of the creatures adorning the building’s exterior, but I think they are more likely foxes than anything else. Of course, if you have an alternative suggestion…